Sometimes it seems to me that the atmosphere is thicker and heavier now, and at moments it is almost hard to take a breath. So much is happening; our world is upside down, topsy-turvy, insane, mind boggling, and sick… wickedly sick. God hasn’t left us in the dark about this, though. He has told us in His word, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come….” (2 Timothy 3:1-13).
The other day I was feeling very discouraged about some situations that are prayerfully very close to my heart. I sat down on the couch and started talking to God. I said, “Father, this seems impossible.” Then as soon as I spoke the words, there was a silent transmission of truth. It was as if I heard the Lord say, “With God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).
The Lord quickened me to believe that my God is all powerful. I was at once encouraged in my spirit and felt full of faith that nothing is too hard for Him.
Then again, the other night after I read the wrenching account of the rental truck being used to massacre all those people in New York, I was reeling from the news. I had a hard time falling asleep that night and started talking to God in the dark. Out loud I cried, “Abba Father, this is not the same world anymore. It’s so scary!” Immediately, before I had time to give myself an answer, these words were impressed upon my mind, “But I am the same God.”
I have no doubt that the Holy Spirit was ministering to me. Once more I was quickened to believe God for the impossible and to trust Him in the darkness.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
I often hear Christians say, and I say it a lot myself, “Can you believe it, that we are the generation living in the season of the Lord’s return?!”
What an amazing time to be alive! We seem to be swiftly approaching the finish line of the Church and the starting line of the Tribulation period! Years ago, did we ever dream that things would be coming to a head in the world like this, fulfilling Bible prophecy so quickly? I literally have to adjust my brain many days to absorb the reality of the nearness of our Lord’s appearing.
When I awake in the mornings and move through the fog of my dissipating sleep, I usually abruptly come face-to-face with the undeniable truth that we are on the cusp of a world- shattering change. For the believer it will be an ultra, high-speed transformation to our heavenly home via the Rapture. For the unbeliever, it will mean a pell-mell catapult into the darkest time ever on the face of this earth. Just writing this makes my heart speed up and tremble for the lost.
“For there shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21).
This takes me to the point I want to make in this article. We have to believe God for mighty answers to prayer regarding the salvation of our lost loved ones, friends, neighbors, associates and others. Remember, the Bible states in Hebrews 11:6 that without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God.
We have a mission. Time is short. Surely, you must sense that, too.
There’s no room for the sluggard. Prayer takes stamina and determination. Prayer is a powerful and indispensable tool to activate the hand of God in the lives of those for whom our souls are burdened. I know that faith in Christ is a choice for each person. Romans chapter one tells us that no one will have an excuse when we stand before the Lord. Still, I know that our prayers are vital to the battle. I heard a pastor say the other day that our prayers are like bombs dropping. The enemy will do everything to distract us and lie to us about the power of Christ-believing prayer.
“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).
Read about the Great White Throne Judgment and think of the great throng of people who will be there. It’s very sobering to even contemplate. We could be there ourselves but for God’s moving in our hearts and opening our eyes to see our lost condition and need of the Savior.
“And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
“And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
“And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
“And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:11-15).
Now I am going to briefly revisit my own past and share a wonderful story about prayer that helped to bring my family to God.
When I was a teenager, we moved outside the city limits. There were four, newly built ranch homes on a corner in the country, surrounded by farms and fields of beans and corn. It was heavenly for me. Across the street on the opposite corner was an old farm complete with a faded, red barn that looked so inviting.
My sister and I were still young enough to want to explore our surroundings. I remember so well the night we crossed the road to visit the older couple that lived in the picturesque, two-story, white farmhouse. They were in their stony driveway, shining their small, blue car. Their names were Levi and Grace.
We immediately fell in love with our new neighbors, and they with us. They became like grandparents to us and special, special people in our family. They truly loved us with the love of Christ. Levi would very often bring armloads of beautiful vegetables from his garden to our kitchen table. We spent a lot of time with them over the ensuing years. They attended the country church down the road. I remember visiting their church.
We had always attended church, but it wasn’t the same church that John and Charles Wesley started a long time ago. However, it had enough of the aroma of the Lord in that we were taught many stories about Jesus and were exposed to the beautiful hymns that mean so much to me today. Still, my siblings and I just did not get the connection between our sin and the cross. While we were spiritually minded, most of my immediate family members were not saved. We thought we were Christians, but it was a works-based faith.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
After Levi died and the farm was sold, Grace eventually went to live in a nursing home. (One of their sons had died at the age of 12 with pneumonia, and both of their other two sons had been killed in World War II. They had just one grandson, the spitting image of Levi.)
I’ll never forget the evening my parents and I visited Grace in the retirement home. I was now married with my first child. My husband and I and our new baby boy had traveled from another state to spend time with our families. When we went to see Gracie, she was sitting in her room with a giant Bible on her lap. It was so heavily written in, that there wasn’t much white space left anywhere. I remember telling Grace that I had become a Christian. At this point in her life she was very frail and quiet. I don’t remember her response. Even her hearing was bad.
Long story short, at my father’s funeral many years later, I remarked to my brother that I felt Grace and Levi’s prayers had a lot to do with the salvation of our family. My brother answered, “I think you’re right.”
A couple of months later after the passing of my father, I was with my mother helping her with things that needed to be done. My dad was an organizer and a saver, a little bit of a pack rat, too. I opened a closet where my dad had stored many items. There I found a bag of letters that had been written to my sister while she was in college.
I quickly recognized Grace’s handwriting on a pretty, yellow, parchment-like envelope. Opening the letter, I began reading her sweet words. My heart soared when I came to this part, written with her knobby, arthritic fingers. These are her exact words, hyphens included:
“I feel so unworthy of all our good neighbors – all have been so very kind and good to us – Levi and me. My best contribution to and for our neighbors is my prayers for them all – individually by name. In other ways – I feel so helpless.”
She continued, “I do so want all my neighbors, friends, relatives – yes – strangers, too – to be saved – if they are not already saved. Then it is so necessary to grow in grace and in the knowledge that they might be filled with the Spirit.”
The letter was written about a year before God opened the eyes of my brother, my sister, and me in different locations to see our spiritual condition. The Lord had led me to dear Grace’s letter to confirm my thoughts about the prayers that were eventually so instrumental in my whole family’s salvation. I have a copy of this letter that I treasure, and it has motivated my prayer life to this day.
One of my grandsons is named Levi, and my newest baby granddaughter is named Evangeline Grace in honor of the prayer warriors that spent time praying for my family. My parents have already had a wonderful reunion with Levi and Grace, who now see some of the fruit of their love-filled labors. Needless to say, I will be eternally grateful.
So now… Let’s pray. Shall we? These are difficult days, but we serve the same God. He has promised us His strength. There is much fruit to be gathered fervently on our knees, and there isn’t time to waste. I don’t know how to say that with as much intensity as I feel it should be said. There is a heaven, and there is a hell. They both are eternal. Jesus is coming… and soon, very soon!